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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  January 10, 2013 4:00pm-7:00pm EST

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weather conditions has cracked the ice allowing them to swim into open waters. and that is it for me here. i'm brooke baldwin at the cnn headquarters in atlanta. check out my blog for all of the latest interviews. now we send you to washington. cnn's "the situation room" with wolf start right now. brooke, thanks. president obama as the president's inner circle. also, the fierce spread of the flu across the united states and now a shortage of a critical medicine used to treat it. plus, prominent voices lending support to an unlikely idea of a trillion dollar coin. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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judgment, integrity, and friendship all cited by president obama as he nominated his chief of staff, jack lew, to be the next treasury secretary but the announcement is drawing attention to the makeup of the president's second-term cabinet. it's on track to be dominated by men. our white house correspondent brianna keilar is joining us from the white house. what is the white house saying about all of this? >> reporter: wolf, the white house has been asked about this quite a bit. white house press secretary jay carney has said that the president believes diversity is important and he's highlighted that there are a number of women serving in the white house and in the administration and indeed there are, wolf, and there's lack of topics in his cabinet. president obama choose a trusted insider to replace timothy geithner as treasury secretary. >> under president clinton, he
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presided over three budget surpluses in a row. so for all of the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it three times. >> reporter: jack lew, obama's chief of staff and former budget director, has been by the president's side through bruising budget negotiations. but lew is not a darling of wall street. speaker john boehner said he told the president, please don't send jack lew. during the franl jill debt ceiling negotiations of 2011. it was unbelievable, boehner said. at one point i told the president, keep him out of here. i don't need somebody who just knows how to say no. with the lew pick, all of the president's top four cabinet posts state, defendants, cia, and treasury will be white men. at every briefing this week, reporters have pepper pressed jay carney about what some have dubbed obama's white guy
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problem. >> this is a couple of appointments. i think it would be useful to wait and make judgments about this issue after the president has made the totality of the appointments that he will make in transition to a second term. >> reporter: of obama's 16 cabinet positions, only two are women. kathleen sebelius and homeland security, janet napolitano. the labor and commerce are open and more will likely become so. it's an usual that can catch fire as we saw during the presidential campaign. >> i went to a number of women's groups and said can can you help us find folks and they brought us binders full of women. >> reporter: the white house is sensitive to this but there are other issues with the new cabinet in the east room as the president spoke glowingly of lew, he noted one exception. lew's signature which will appear on dollar bills.
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>> when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i considered resending by offer to appoint him. jack assured me he's going to make one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury. >> reporter: by far the funniest moment of that ceremony today, wolf. but on the topic of diversity in the president's cabinet, there are a number of women whose names are being discussed as possibilities for positions that are now open or may become open, which includes facebook cheryl sandberg and former michigan governor jennifer granholm. but as of right now, those names are just speculation. >> those names are just names as of now. all right. we'll see what happens. brianna, thank you. let's go to our chief correspondent gloria borrow injury and ruth. everyone is talking about your
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column titled, obama needs binders full of women. among the headlines you did write this, to be clear, i've got nothing against white guys. some of my best husbands are white guys. white guys get to be secretary of state, too, and john kerry will be the first in 16 years. but to look at the most important jobs in the government in 2013 and see such lack of diversity is just so drearily disappointing. how disapointing is it? maybe there will be a bunch of women in these other openings? >> not only will there be a whole bunch of women, i know this will be. but the reason it's fair rather than waiting to see who gets commerce or who the next head of the small business administration is, is that these are, and pardon my language, the big boy jobs. these are the four jobs that really, really count and to have
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no women in them, as i said, it's not outrageous. i'm not accusing the president of being sexist or not value women but it really is disappointing now in 2013. >> and it's disappointing for you, in particular, because what a difference four years makes. we went back and got a clip. this is what you said on the pbs news hour in november 2008. >> one of the other things that strikes me is you look at the effortless diversity that's being created. >> at that time, you were pretty impressed. >> i was on the team. >> yeah, you were -- >> i'm really glad you found that clip because one of the things that i was excited about back then was the effortless part of the diversity, that we weren't scrounging for women. we weren't scrounging for african-americans. the pipeline had come up 20 years ago, president bill clinton when he was president elect had a famous eruption of
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his temper at the bean counters who were complaining about lack of women in little rock. but it's been 20 years. there's been a generation since then. and it ought to have been easy. in fact, it would have been easy to find women. imagine what the stories would look like now if susan rice had been nominated to be secretary of state and michelle florinoi was the first defense secretary. >> i'm told that they are looking for a woman for commerce. i'm sure they are all very qualified. and then you say, oh, they needed a woman and they are putting that woman in a job because she's a woman. well, that's not a good storyline for them. >> or for people like you and me. >> right. exactly. and then the other question i have is, how much does the president, the top people listen to the women who are there? is it a question of numbers of women or is it a question of influence of women? i mean, you could argue that
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valley jarrett is the closest person on the senior staff to the president, long time friend close to the president and close to the first lady but how much do the -- two of the three deputies chief of staff are women. what's their impact? >> i can't tell you, ruth, how many democratic women have whispered, said to me -- and they are pretty upset about this -- why does the president decide to fight for chuck hagel to be the secretary of defense? why did he decide to fight for jack lew to be secretary of treasury. he didn't fight for susan rice to be the secretary of state. >> that's a good question and i have been stunned to your point and gloria's question about the number of democratic women inside and outside the administration at very high levels that i've heard from today basically saying, you go girl, thank you for writing that column. i think valley jarrett clearly is, if not the most influential, one of the most influential women in the administration.
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at the same time, there is definitely a sense that this is -- that it's a boy's club, that the president is the head of. and women do feel excluded. >> they did release another picture today. a very different picture showing the staff. let's show our viewers. the picture they released today because it shows a lot of women in that picture the other day in the new york times picture. we saw a whole bunch of guys. >> where the girls are. right there in the oval office. >> of course they drk wolf. the other picture that they had with all men, besides valerie jarrett's leg was a problem of optics for them. i think they've corey owe graphed this whole rollout of the cabinet in a way that is less than optimal and that could be because they are in the middle of the fiscal cliff but i think one of the reasons that we saw jack lew alone today is because if you had the whole
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national economic team, you would have had the same problem. >> this is a picture that they released. i don't know who at the white house made that decision. maybe ruth, you're an excellent reporter. who made the decision? >> i'm an opinion columnist now. but the thing that's really striking is -- i had an e-mail from administration officials, that was predictable. excuse me, if that was predictable, why didn't you guys insulated yourselves a little bit? >> they did. they put out a fact sheet. >> after the fact. >> 50% of the people in the staff are women, you know, on and on. >> roll it out with -- as i use the word tablo when you have more people to name. >> ruth, thanks very much. >> i'm going to make one prediction. >> yeah. >> there will be more women. >> i hope there will be. it's not only good for the president but it's good for the country as well. thanks very much. this afternoon, vice president joe biden met with the
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national rifle association as well as other gun owner and sporting groups. the nra released a statement, we were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and attached to the second amendment. they said that it's unfortunate that the administration continues to push on failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems. biden says his task force on gun violence will send it is recommendations to president obama by next tuesday. while the vice president says he hasn't come to any specific conclusions yet, he sees an emerging consensus on certain ideas. >> there is a surprising -- so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks, not just closed to gun show loophole but total universal background checks, including private sales.
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>> assault weapons are another possible target for new gun restrictions. cnn crime and justice correspondent joe johns visited a gun store today and will join us in a little bit to discover what turns an ordinary gun into an assault weapon and the changes that may be coming. an unlikely idea is gaining momentum. minting a trillion dollar coin to avert a debt ceiling crisis. plus, a shortage of the medicine used to treat some of the most vulnerable flu victims. ♪ [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish, impact life expectancy in the u.s., real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
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a fierce flu season and now
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a trum belg shortage of a medicine used to treat some of the most vulnerable victims. tamaflu which helps alleviate symptoms as demand picks up dramatically. tomorrow the centers for disease control and prevention will release new numbers on the out brake. the most recent report is that the flu is widespread in 42 states up from 31 states the week before with more than 2,000 people hospitalized. the situation is so severe in boston that the mayor has declared a public health emergency. dr. anthony fauci of the national institute of health told me the flu came on early, towards the end of november, and spread a steep trajectory unseen since the flu season of 2003. joining us now is cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. put this flu in surge cases in a
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proper perspective for us. in other words, how serious is it compared with last year? >> well, last year was a pretty mild year. if you take boston as an example that you were just giving, wolf, at this ti last year they had about 70 documented cases and now they have 700. in that one city it's literally ten times worse and it's just more significant all around the country. i'd also say because of what dr. fauci was mentioning, when you have a surge in flu cases early on, other viruses are circulating as well. norovirus, something known as isv. all of these different viruses at the same time affecting the country and that can make the problem even worse. typically flu peaks in february. the question now, wolf, is is this peaking and then going to taper off as well, which would be good news, or are the numbers going up or going to stay high for a while through the flu season? >> i can't tell you how many
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people tell me all the time, i'm not getting a flu shot because i think it will give me the flu or will make me sick. what's the response to these folks? >> that's not true. that's the response. that's a myth. and, you know, i feel like you have to state it almost that candidly. look, the flu shot itself contains a dead virus. and you know me, wolf, i don't take a lot of medications or encoura encourage them but the flu shot is a good way at protecting yourself against the flu. it's a dead virus. you can't get the flu from a flu shot. a couple things to keep in mind. it takes two weeks for the protection to become complete. so you're not going to get protection right away. also, it's about 60% effective. so there are people who will get the flu shot and then still get the flu but they are not getting it from the flu shot. and finally, when you get the flu shot, wolf, the whole point of the flu shot is to sort of teach your immune system to treat that virus as foreign.
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the next time it sees it, it can attack it. you might feel cruddy after a day or two. you might get soreness around the arm and not feel well. it's not the flu but your body's own immune system. finally, even if you get the flu having had the flu shot, your symptoms may be milder than they otherwise would be. so you're still getting the flu but you're getting some benefit as a result of having that shot. >> there are some people, sanjay, who should not get a flu shot, right? >> absolutely. we talk about people, for example, children under the age of 6 months. certainly people who have had reaction in some way to the flu shot in the past. if you have a fever right now or are sick, now is not the time to get a flu shot. eggs -- the medium that they make these flu shots in is eggs. if you have an allergy to chicken eggs you should not get the flu shot. again, you are your own best judge. if you've had a specific reaction to a flu shot in the
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past, that would be a reason not to get it as well. >> the centers for device control in atlanta expect up to 50,000 deaths from this flu season. 50,000 people could die. that's a very scary number. how does a person go from having fevers and aches to actually dying? >> well, there's a few specific things and when you think about the vast majority of people who get the flu, it's going to be a if you bad days. they should stay at home, get plenty of rest and fluids. there are certain swayings that are going to prompt at least a call to the dock did for, if not a visit. people should not do this without thinking about it. if you have a sudden onset of dizziness, for example difficulty bretting, pressure in the chest area. wolf, this last one, which is the return of a fever, i think it's really important. the reason is, wolf, let's say
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you had the flu, you get over it and then a couple days later your fever returns. what that means to doctors typically is that during the time that person had the flu, the immune system was somewhat weakened and now they got set up for a bacterial infection. often times a staff caulk committees infection in the lungs. that's a red flag and needs to be treated. what i just described there is the most common way that young people die from this, by getting the secondary infection, wolf. >> dr. sanjay gupta, thank you very much. >> you got it. anytime. a disappointing end to bill richardson's trip to north korea. the latest on what he and one of the men who run google have to say about their trip. find thousands of big deals now... officemax.
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google's executive chairman eric schmidt wraps up its controversial visit to north korea today. he complained the trip was ill-planned and not helpful. schmidt defended his actions after arriving in china. >> google's chief eric schmidt is certainly the highest profile
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businessman we've seen visit north korea since kim jong-un took over. mr. schmidt said he he went to north korea to talk about and push for a free and fair internet, a concept completely alien to pyongyang. >> their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and so forth. and it will make it harder for them to catch up economically. we made that alternative very, very clear. >> schmidt has shown the computer while in pyongyang. currently there are just a lucky few who have access to a computer can only connect to an internal internet. only the handful of the elite can access international websites. bill richardson was also on the trip and said it was productive,
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although the u.s. state department characterized the trip as ill-timed, coming a month after north korea launched a rocket to internional condemnation. richardson, though, said he urged a nuclear official not to repeat such a launch. >> we're concerned with the current level of tension in the peninsula. we think that both sides need to move in new directions. the north koreans need to temper their nuclear development. they need to have a moratorium on missile activity. the country's in the region, i believe, too, need to develop a new positive approach. >> governor richardson did not manage to real estate lease an american citizen who has been detained for the last month for unspecified crimes against the state. he also said that he wasn't able to visit with the man but he said he does have guarantees
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that he was being treated fairly and his judicial proceedings are about to start. paula hancocks, cnn, seoul. >> the former senator bill richardson will be here tomorrow to talk about his trip to north korea with eric schmidt. lisa silver sister is here to talk about more of the stories happening right now. >> head of his sit down with president obama tomorrow, karzai met with leon panetta today. when panetta described the last chapter in the decade of war, karzai assured him that afghanistan will be able to protect its borders threatened by terrorists. and more legal wrangling over releasing pictures of a dead osama bin laden. the conservative group says
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president obama's refusal to publish the photos violates the freedom of information act. the white house says the images could threaten the lives of u.s. soldiers and our allies. and after breakdowns in 911 systems, the fcc could ensure strict rules that ensure that phone companies have backup power and plans to keep things running. the most severe breakdown came after a freak windstorm after a dozen of call centers couldn't receive 911 calls last june. similar problems cropped up when superstorm sandy hit in october. and a closer look at the brain of the late nfl line baker junior seau and the ten-time all pro committed suicide in may. specialists who have studied him closely say that he has evidence of scarring and a condition called chronic traumatic enself lop tea e.ect.
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we'll have a live report from sanjay gupta. particularly when you're talking young kids and so forth, we've heard about the issue of concussion cans. >> sanjay has done a lot of research, a lot of work on these concussions, these head injuries from football. it's a serious, serious subject. >> that's reason enough to tune in and continue to stay tuned in. >> it was such a tragic loss. i remember the day upon hearing the news of his suicide. really, really sad. >> all right. thank you. we're just about to get a close look at assault weapons. they are likely to become the targets of proposed gun control laws again. but, first, what's wrong with this picture? our strategy session is looking at whether the president needs to recruit more women and minority members for the top jobs in his second term. keep my eye on but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters...
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the pastor who was going to deliver the benediction at the inauguration of president obama caught up with him. you have been working this story. what's going on? >> wolf, this is not the first time that a controversy has arisen over gay rights, a pastor, and an inauguration. atlanta pastor louie giglio is now pulling out of the festivities. why? because of a firestorm over his mid-1990 sermon on homosexuality. >> if you look at the counsel of the word of god, old testament, new testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that
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homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. homosexuality is not just a sexual preference. homosexuality is not gay. but homosexuality is sin. it is sin in the eyes of god, and it is sin according to the word of god. >> giglio withdrew from the ceremony after those words drew fire from gay rights groups saying in a message, the issue of homosexuality is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. however, the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we as a people must recover and preserv preserve earlier this month, he welcomed thousands at his passion movement, end at human trafficking and sex slavery. he fears participation at the inauguration would distract from that message. a gay rights group said that
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giglio made the right decision. >> his inclusion would have been inconsistent with the tone that this president has set for inclusion and diversity and such. we thought it was entirely appropriate. >> the president's inaugural committee said that they were not aware of his past remarks and will select someone who better fits their views. in 2009, liberal and gay rights groups slammed the evangelical pastor rick warren to speak because of his open possession to same-sex marriage. a conservative christian advocacy group is experienced about what they see as a trend. >> what's shocking here, i think, is that this is further evidence of a desire to sanitize the public square of anyone who holds the biblical morality. >> now, wolf, i should mention the president's i inaugural committee is making history as
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choosing the first hispanic and gay person to recite a poem at the swearing in ceremony. >> athena, thanks very much for that. let's follow up with our strategy session. joining us is jamal simmons and ari fleischer, the white house press secretary for george w. bush. jamal, should reverend giglio be punished now for what he said nearly 20 years ago? >> his views clearly don't reflect the president's views and i think the controversy that's erupted is going to overshadow any role that he plays in the inauguration. the thing that's interesting here, we're going to have an entire generation of trouble on this question because he's not a aloan. as we come to new reconciliation and understanding of gay rights, we're going to have to find a way to maybe rehabilitate people who have some views earlier or
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let them have views that are outside the mainstream on one topic and perhaps more aggressive on another. i think there's going to be a real struggle for us over the next few years as we bring all of this together after this really controversial issue. >> ari, where do you stand on this? >> i think gays are fellow citizens and should be treated with respect as such. tony perkins does make a valid point about there are people who disagree with me. should they be banned from the public square? that's why these are difficult, difficult issues to wrestle with. this is the president's inauguration. it should fit his tone, fit his voice and he's entitled to have the people on that stage who share his voice. i have to add though, wolf, what i don't get if it's wrong for him to be there for one day and i suppose it is, is it right for chuck hagel to be there each and every day who has espoused something based on what the pastor was saying.
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>> the difference is, jamal, that chuck hagel apologized for the views he expressed nearly 20 years ago and the statement today from reverend giglio, he said neither i or our team feels it best serves the current message and goals that we're seeking to accomplish to be a fight and issue and withdraw my acceptance of the invitation. >> if the pastor had apologized, do you think that would have made it go away? i suspect he still would have been chased from being there for the inaugural. >> i'm not -- >> having said that. >> i'm not sure that's true, ari. i think one of the ways that we're going to move past this issue is for people who have views that maybe now they reflect a different view. coming out and saying i regret those views or i've changed my position or we need to have a broader understanding, something that moves us past their past views, people in the administration will focus on these issues of human trafficking and slavery, they were aligning with these groups to come together on other issues important to the administration.
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lastly, i will say that the administration has other people who are on their side, people like pastor coat who was in the gay movement and opening that up that they could turn to for the inaugural prayer. >> ari, let's talk a little bit about the vice president and his task force on guns right now. here's the question. he's obviously going to come up with his recommendations by tuesday. with every day that passes, since the newtown massacre, does the chances of real substantive gun control legislation fade, get weaker? >> i don't think so. i think newtown is so searing in people's minds that this has a longer lasting factor than most shootings previously. there was another shooting today, as you saw, wolf, and this one involved a shotgun. i think it still raises the question, do any of us know how to stop these shootings from taking place? are we going to ban shotguns now? like the sentiment is to ban assault rifles.
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i think we're still going to grapple with this. i hope it's balanced. i hope it's not just gun control and taking advantage of newtown. we do need to do something but if it's only one thing, it's not going to be effective and that's what we've learned with today's shootings, certainly. >> wolf, we know there's got to be balance but we also know when people have to reload clips and chance for people to do well and stop the shooting to get at that shooter and get them. so someone with a shotgun with two or three -- one or two shells in it is very different than someone with a clip with 30 shells in it. >> here's what the former president bill clinton said last week at the consumer electronics show. this is the consumer electronics show in vegas. he said, i grew up in this hunting culture but this is nuts. why does anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun? does there need to be armed guards in schools where there is a higher crime rate and student
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may take guns to school? absolutely. but it's not an excuse not to deal with this issue. he dealt with it back in '93, '94. he paid a pretty significant price because the democrats lost a whole bunch of seats in the house of representatives and control in the house, ari, as you well remember. >> i think both sides are going to have to give on something on this. given what happened in newtown, i also don't accept that nothing can be done, we hate to say there's no answer but i do think both sides have to give. there's a speech issue that involves hollywood and i hope the vice president puts it on the table and we have to check off our shoes, infringement on our liberties, we're law-abiding people with automatic weapons. but it's a balance and you have to be realistic. i don't think anything is going to stop it. the fundamental issue is mental illness and i haven't heard any good ideas about how to stop the mentally ill who are out on our streets who are occasionally engaging in horrors. i wish there was. i would be the first one to
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support it if there was. >> next tuesday, jamal and ari, thanks very much. >> thank you. much more on this story coming up. do you know what changes turns a gun, a regular gun into an assault weapon? our own joe johns visited a gun shop and shooting range for a hands-on operation. he's in "the situation room" today straight from the shooting range. ♪
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another school shooting incident is in the news, unfortunately. it happened at taft, california. authorities say a 16-year-old student is in critical condition after being shot by another student who brought a shotgun to school, walked into a classroom, and opened fire. in the wake of last year's mass shootings in colorado and now in connecticut, we're hearing frequent calls for restrictions
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on assault weapons. cnn's crime and justice correspondent joe johns is here in "the situation room." but earlier he visited a gun store and a shooting range for a hands-on explanation for what these guns are and the kind of restrictions that may be coming. it's really an eye-opening experience you went through. >> it certainly is, wolf. what is an assault weapon, anyway? you hear that question all the time. many say the experts say it's inprecise. it's meant to describe military and combat weapons as opposed to recreational. the other thing is banning certain item because of how they look. whether an ar-15 is more dangerous because it has extra features attached to it. we went to blue ridge arsenal in northern virginia to take a look. simplicity and ease of use is what makes them so popular. we have mike to demonstrate how fast 15 rounds can hit a target.
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when was the last time you fired an ar? >> four or five years ago. >> reporter: ar-15s and similar models are at the center of the debate on whether there should be a ban on assault weapons. >> what do you think of this assault weapons ban? >> i'm not for it. i don't think it's going to change anything. i think if someone wants to create havoc or cause a crime, they are going to do it there own receives. criminals don't follow the rules anyway. >> reporter: characteristics like folding grips, grenade launches and how many would make it a prohibited weapon? in 1994, any two characteristics meant it was banned. >> the argument why they banned things like folding stock is that it's more easily concealed and folding stocks were typically designed for
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military-type purposes. pistol grill, they outlawed that because it's meant to be a shoulder fired weapon you can shoot it from the hip which is typically what you would do in combat. >> reporter: a current proposal from dianne feinstein would be less permissive than the old law. banning the firearm if it contained any one of the disfavored characteristics. it's true that some of these guns look formidable but in our short time at the range it wasn't hard to find an owner who uses one for sport. >> it's amazing. it's my favorite gun to shoot out of all. >> why? >> insanely accurate rate. it doesn't have any recoil to speak of and a lot of rounds on the target. >> perhaps the biggest debate is over whether the last ban worked. gun control advocates say it saved lives and the country is ready for it now. >> i think the public has reached a point where a polling suggests a large majority want it and the reason is they are seeing these mass shootings
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happening increasingly, rapidly, and they are becoming increasely massive. >> but bouchard, who once -- >> it was not a problem. i didn't notice much of a difference. >> right. you can't get all of those guns off the street. >> right. >> so what's the answer? >> too many on the street. personally i think it's to go after the ammunition source, the number of rounds that you can have in a magazine. >> the feinstein proposal is definitely looking to deal with the ammunition requirements, fixed magazines of no more than ten rounds. they remove things like bayonettes because they are easy to remove and already on the street the question, of course, is whether something like that could get through the congress. >> have you ever fired one of these before? >> well, yeah. i fired today for the first time an ar-15. i fired a lot of weapons in my
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lifetime and i have to tell you, i was a little bit surprised of the accuracy of it and how easy it was to get the round on the target with essentially no practice. it's very, very easy to use. >> joe johns, thanks very much for that report. as i said, eye-opening. political and popular momentum is building behind an idea that at first glance seems outrageous. we're looking at why the government may consider minting, get this, a trillion dollar coin. now there's new information.
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chances are you can certainly find plenty of coins rattling around your pocket or your purse or your couch. but could a coin worth a trillion dollars actually join the familiar lineup of pennies, nickels, and quarters? cnn's brian todd is here to explain why the idea is picking up political and popular momentum in recent days. you reported on this earlier in the week. i thought its was sort of ridiculous but some people are taking it seriously. >> many are joking, hey, i hold in membership hand the solution to the debt ceiling crisis but in reality this idea has gotten
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more serious momentum recently. mostly because after the fiscal cliff and everything else, so many want to avoid the fallout from another political brawl in washington. it's gone from never in a million years to, well, maybe. the idea of the president minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to do an end run around the republicans and avoid debt ceiling drama has gained popular and political momentum. what sarted as a blog goss sfeer whim got more attention during the set ceiling standoff and now has new york sometimes columnist paul krug man writing if it's not avoiding, quote, mint the darn coin. not to mention a petition on the website with thousands of support. speaking at the white house. >> will you fully rule it out? >> you can speculate about a lot of things. the specifics of this question.
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>> the punt's in the air. it's a high floater. the treasury department decides not to field it, declining comment. but why is this being discussed more seriously now? analysts say frustration and fatigue in washington. >> there's an increased search for ways out of this problem, especially by democrats. and i think that's how some of them hit on this idea about the coin. >> we've explained how it would work. treasury can mint it and print on it $1 trillion. and the president can ask that it be deposited at the treasury reserve. >> the real buzz overall of this is about the possibilities. humorous and not, who would be on the coin? president obama and john boehner have been considered because, after all, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. lady liberty is always a popular choice. michael phelps riding on a bald eagle is a little too scary. we should probably keep it on
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the safe side with him. >> have a nice look to it? >> well, it's nice to collect. i don't think it's a great way to solve our national debt problems. >> matt cooper says one reasons the problem hasn't been shelved is it's more politically correct for president obama to use it for reverend laj than for him to use it. >> i think it would hard to negotiate things on the budget and other tax issues and sequestration and other things that face this president. >> not to mention, the mockery that it would draw on the president, the congress, the american currency system. still, as strange as the coin idea might seem, most analysts say it's really no crazier than getting into yet another political fight over the debt ceiling, possibly even jolting the financial markets as a result. >> so what are the predictions? >> most experts say it's really unlikely but no one is saying impossible. president obama is probably going to have his back to the wall with the debt ceiling for a while and they point out that the white house is giving up one weapon. they've already said that they
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will not use this invoking of the 14th amendment, the amendment requiring the president not to put the validity of the public debt into question. the white house says it will not use it to avoid this. that's one weapon that they are giving up. so this thing that we're seeing in the pictures here and making so much fun of is still a political weapon for the president, not ruling it out. >> thanks very much, brian todd, for that update. the oscar nominations are now out. who's been left off the list is just as interesting as who is in the running. >> for best performance for act stre in a leading role -- store in the freezer. same medicated pain reliever used by physical therapists. that's chilly. [ male announcer ] new bengay zero degrees. freeze and move on.
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plenty of big names and big movies but it's always hollywood buzzing about who has been snubbed. entertainment correspondent nischelle turner is joining us from los angeles. it's been a long day for you, nischelle. what happened? >> a lot happened today, wolf. that's the thing about the academy. they seem to zig when everyone else zags. there were some quote/unquote snubs to talk about. but let's talk about what gave people a smile. "lincoln" earned 12 nominations. "life of pi" behind it with 11.
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the academy can choose between 5 and ten movies. this year they decided, we'll choose 9. "lincoln" was nominated, "life of pi," "zero dark thirty" and les miserables." and daniel day lewis was nominated for lincoln. hugh jack man, denzel washington for flight. bradley cooper for silver linings playbook, his very first no, ma'am nalt. and joaquin phoenix. jessica chastain and jennifer lawrence and naomi was for the impossible. quven sdplchlt hane wallis, just
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9 years old. lincoln clearly a front-runner. we may have some dark forces for "beast of a southern wild" but it could be a big night for "lincoln." >> a few big names were left out of the honors. >> yeah, basically in the directing category. we thought we'd hear names like ben affleck for argo or catherine big gel low. they have been gaming momentum for golden globes and director guild's award but this morning no dice from the academy. >> no dice indeed. nischelle, thank you. >> absolutely. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, as a nasty flu bug spreads across the united states, is it time to get vaccinated? and what happens when u.s. troops leave afghanistan? i'll speak with the former u.s. commander there, general stanley mcchrystal. he's in "the situation room."
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and new clues may show why the former football star junior seau committed suicide. our own dr. sanjay gupta is standing by. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." we begin with the growing and sometimes deadly flu outbreak gripping almost the entire country right now. 41 states are reporting widespread activity in and at least 18 people have died from the virus. the minnesota health department says 27 people have died from flu-related complications. south carolina reports 22 flu-related deaths this season
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compared to one for all of 2011. pennsylvania is also reporting 22 deaths, six people reported dead in illinois. in summerville, massachusetts, near boston, all 720 doses are free flu vaccine which was supposed to last the entire season have already ran out. cnn's mary snow has been looking at the strain that this virus is putting on hospitals. mary, how bad is it? >> wolf, certain hospitals are taking certain actions. one hospital in boston, for instance, says it's now going to start screening visitors, asking them to leave if they are feeling sick. patients will be given masks if they have flu-like symptoms. here in new york city, some hospitals have set up walk-in clinics for people with flu-like symptoms, this as hospitals across the country try to ease the spread of cases and overcrowding in the emergency rooms. in boston where a public emergency was declared, the city plans to offer free flu vaccines this weekend.
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new york's gomp governor got a vaccine and encouraged others to do the same as health officials report that flu cases are five times higher than a year ago. in pennsylvania, one hospital set up a tent to isolate milder flu cases from more serious ones, the state has more than 11,000 confirmed cases so far. and in minnesota, some hospitals are imposing restricts on visitors to spread the influenza. it's part of the larger picture across the country where at least 41 states are reporting widespread flu cases weeks ahead of the peak flu season with more people landing in the hospital and the message is the same. >> i still recommend that everyone get vaccinated. it's still not too late to get vaccinated. that's very important to know. >> doctors say it takes about two weeks for the shot to take full effect but some people who have been vaccinated can can still get the flu. >> the influenza is a good vaccine but it's not a perfect vaccine. it works better in young, healthy people than it does in older persons.
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it's the best vaccine we have but there are cases of influenza that occur despite immunization. they are often of benefit because they can prevent some of the complications. it makes a more serious infection somewhat milder. >> and health officials say this year's flu vaccine is a good match. >> the exact formulation will change depending on what is circulating. scientists have picked the best combination of the three influenza viruses that have been circulating and put them into this year's vaccine. >> that's why the people are told to get vaccinated every year. and, wolf, normally the flu season peaks in late january and early february. health officials say there's really no way to predict just how bad this season could get or hopefully may not get. wolf? >> mary snow, thanks very much. let's dig a little deeper and get critically important
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information from dr. anthony fauci. he's at the national institutes of health in bethesda, maryland. dr. fauci, thanks once again for coming in. let's get to practical questions. people have been e-mailing me questions knowing that you're coming in. frequent, if you haven't gotten the flu shot but you get the flu and you're dealing with the flu, after you recover, should you still go out and get a flu shot at this late moment? will that help you? >> if you really had the flu and, again, you have to get specific diagnosis of that and if it truly is influenza and you're infected with it and recover, be then clearly you don't need to get a flu vaccine. but up want to be careful that you don't get another mild respiratory infection, think it's the flu, and then say well okay now i don't need the flu vaccine. if you've documented flu, you don't need the vaccine. but the point that was just made a little while ago, wolf, be is that it's not too late to get
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vaccinated and we are still in the upsurge in many areas of the country. this is an early start to the flu season. we usually see this later in january and in february. so that's the reason why people are being concerned because it's occurring earlier and the last time it occurred with this type of an early pattern was in 2003 and 2004, which turned out to be a particularly bad flu season. >> was it an epidemic, then? was it a pandemic? how would you describe this year's flu breakout? >> well, whenever you get above a threshold of infections, we call that the ep people dick. if you look at the kmachart, it clearly gone up that threshold. we are truly into a flu epidemic. we're still in the uptick and basically you stay there for about 12 weeks. we're right now at about week five or so. so we still have a way to go
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even if it peaks. remember, once it peaks, you still have a considerable amount of time where there is a lot of flu activity and right now it may have peaked in some places but for the most part it has not yet peaked. >> a lot of us remember 2009 when we had the swine flu. how would you compare what's happening now to that? >> well, it's very interesting and a good question, wolf, is that the 2009 h1n1, it was a different type of flew. this year it's h3n2, was very widespread, particularly among children. but in children it was relatively mild among adults and among senior citizens. unfortunately, it was more dramatically, clinically different among children because they didn't have any prior existing immunity. so they are comparable in some ways and in some ways they are not. it occurred very early. you might remember, wolf, it actually occurred during the
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fall season right as children were going back to school at the end of august and beginning of september and we had seen activity in the prior april. so it was a different pattern. but, in general, that flu from 2009 was widespread but not particularly severe, particularly in adults. >> why are we seeing so many cases now? >> well, that's the way flu goes. we're getting a lot of attention, appropriately so to this right now. and you're seeing cases now because this is is the pattern of how flus occur. we usually would be seeing this sometime later in january into february. the characteristic about flu this year is that it ticked up earlier than usual and, in general, if you compare it to 2002 -- excuse me, 2003 and 2004, when you have that kind of early click, that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to go way up but it looks like it's
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following the pattern of what we saw in 2003 and 2004, which comparatively speaking was a bad year. >> does it have anything to do with the coming about the holiday travel season? >> well, whenever you have people who are congregated together, that is always a condition that would make the breakout of a respiratory-borne virus like influenza is that would be transmitted in crowded places. so the fact that it started at the beginning of december, end of november and people congregated together, that certainly could have been a factor when you see breakouts among families, children get infected and give it to the efrl derl individuals. so there's nothing particularly peck cue jar this. >> at what point do you go to the hospital?
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>> if you start to feel ill and have significant respiratory symptoms you should see a doctor, but not just for sniffles or a mild cough when you go to bed. one of the things i want to emphasize, wolf, when you have influenza, which could potentially be a serious disease, if you get very sick or you're hospitalized or you're a member of a group that's at risk for complications like pregnant women, very young children, elderly individuals, individuals with chronic conditions, physicians should treat these individuals with anti-flu medication like tam ma flu. you shouldn't wait when you have someone at high risk for complications to get back a definitive complication of flu. you 14ud treat them right away. >> dr. fauci, thanks so much for joining us. i suspect we're going to be continuing this conversation in the days to come. appreciate it. >> you're quite welcome. he's being called a tough dude. president obama names trusted adviser jack lew to be his next treasury secretary. but why are some critics up in
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arms? and should the u.s. stick to the phase withdraw from afghanistan or cut its losses and get out now? i'll speak with retired general stanley mcchrystal. he's in "the situation room." at 1:45, the aflac duck was brought in with multiple lacerations to the wing and a fractured beak.
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surgery was successful, but he will be in a cast until it is fully healed, possibly several months. so, if the duck isn't able to work, how will he pay for his living expenses? aflac. like his rent and car payments? aflac. what about gas and groceries? aflac. cell phone? aflac, but i doubt he'll be using his phone for quite a while cause like i said, he has a fractured beak. [ male announcer ] send the aflac duck a get-well card at
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only weeks removed from a heated fight over the fiscal cliff, going head to head soon once again over the budget and debt ceiling who he wants in the corner nominating his white house chief of staff jack lew as the next treasury secretary. he srveed as budget director for
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both presidents obama and clinton. the president praised jack lew for being a low-key guy and hinted to congress he wants lew to get started as soon as possible. >> jack has my complete trust. i know i'm not alone in that. having lew on your team is equivalent of a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at any position and do well. i could not agree more. so i hope the senate will confirm him as quickly as possible. >> the president may not necessarily get his wish for a quick confirmation. lew is publicly classed with republicans over the budget. the wall street journal editorial page referred to him as a yes man. ali velshi and i spoke with steven moore about why his newspaper is no fan of lew's. >> we were very critical of him in our editorial this morning, wolf, for a couple of reasons. look, we kind of were hoping that this would be kind of a new
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start for the president, that this second termite be a departure from some of the policies of the first term and this suggests that it's going to be more of the same and when you heard the discussion about how many republicans really just don't get along with this guy, they don't agree with this philosophy, they think he's really hard to deal with the negotiations, i think that could presage fights to come. one other point if i could, wolf. one of the things that bothers me about the president's cabinet in his first term and the one coming forward in the second term is you just don't have the business experience. you've heard that complaint by business men and women around the country. where are the people who know how business works, who now how to meet a payroll? and jack lew does have private sector experience at citi but he's never really run a company and i think that's a shortcoming of not just jack lew you the entire cabinet. >> he did run two divisions at
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citi when president bush was in office. he did spend a few years up on wall street. let me go to ali velshi. >> can i just say one thing about that? >> yeah. >> yeah, but look at his performance at citi. citi needed a huge government bailout when he was there and, by the way, by many reports, the division that he ran lost billions of dollars. so i'm not so sure that's a real star for him. >> and you're right, ali. hold on. and then the story i read on the front page of the wall street journal, steve, it did make the arrangement that he did run the two divisions, one of which got into serious trouble in 2007, 2008. he wasn't the guy making the investment decisions that really caused such severe heartburn. i red read that in the wall street journal today. >> well, he was in charge of the operation and it lost money. whether he was making specific calls on investments, don't
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know. but you don't look at that reference and say, gee, this really makes him qualified to be the treasury secretary for the united states. >> all right. let's let ali weigh in. >> steve, good to see you. i'm not sure anyone who would nominate for treasury secretary that the editorial of the wall street editorial would but who knows. your history is one of a tax fighter. you've been a tax fighter forever. you're founder of the club for growth. >> right. >> you've got the same dna as grover norquist and pat toomey and guys like this. jack lew understands budgets. the fact of the matter is, this is a guy that can speak the right language when the biggest crisis in washington right now is the fact that there's an absence of a budget. >> okay. so, ali, that's a great point.
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when i heard you talk about this before it was the one thing that you said that i kind of disagreed with. look, we have a fiscal crisis on our hands, we have a debt crisis. if you look at his performance in the last few years in terms of running the budget office and being the chief of staff for the president, the debt crisis has gotten much worse. i don't look at that reference and say, gee, this is a guy who is really going to fix the problem and i do think what we need in washington is he's been in washington in and out of government for 25 years and i guess my philosophy is, why not bring in some new faces, granted they are going to have the president's philosophy but maybe looking at new approaches to bringing this enormous debt down. >> steve, do you remember his record at omb during the the last four years of the second term of the bill clinton administration? how that budget thing worked out? >> i knew you were going to bring that up, wolf.
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look, i'll give him high marks for his record as clinton's budget director but i'm going to give him an f for his performance as budget director under barack obama because we took the deficit up to a trillion dollars, levels that, wolf, you and i and ali didn't think we would ever see in our lifetime. the president is going to get his choice. he's going to be confirmed. i just don't think this is going to be a guy who really builds bridges which i think all three of us think is desperately needed right now if we're going to get out of this crisis. >> i agree with the need for building bridges, working together, compromise that is critically important. i know that ali does as well. steve moore, as usual, thanks very much for joining us. a legal battle over photos showing the body of osama bin laden. a federal appeals court. h free p from the u.s. postal service. we'll even drop off boxes if you need them. visit pay, print, and have it picked up for free. any time of year. ♪
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a federal appeals court weighing whether to demand the photos of osama bin laden's body. lisa sylvester is monitoring the stories. what is happening? >> wolf, at issue, dozens of images of the late al qaeda leader including his burial at sea. the freedom of information act requires releasing the pictures. that's been debated since the
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may 2011 raid which killed bin laden. the white house said at the time that it's not in the u.s. national security interest. and shock and outrage in paris after the apparent assassination of three kurdish women activists. the french interior minister says they were executed but there's no claim of responsibility. one woman was a founder of the kurdish worker's party, ppk, which has waged a war with turkey and viewed by the u.s. as a terror group. this covers parts of syria, iran, and iraq. and we're less than a few weeks into 2013 and the job market still has a long way to recovery. claims rose as 371,000 people filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits. that is up 4,000 from the previous week. and while there has been improvement over the last are four years, claims idled in the 3 to 400,000 range for most of
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2012. and history takes stage at the 2013 inauguration with martin luther king's traveling bible used for his speeches and sermons as well as the lincoln bible from the library of congress. that has been around since the 1950s for the official swearing in. that is sunday the 20th. we are all looking forward to that. my understanding is that is new, on sunday. >> sunday is the official swearing, very private low key. but the big one, monday the january 21st on the steps of the u.s. capitol. >> for those of us in the news business, it's very exciting and thrilling because we get to do it twice. >> i'll be working sunday and monday. happy to do so. love these historic moments. so what happens in afghanistan after all u.s. troops leave? just ahead, i'll speak with the former u.s. commander, stanley mcchrystal. he's here in the situation room.
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oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas. president karzai is making his rounds in washington. he's meeting with hillary clinton at this hour and will meet with president obama tomorrow. at issue, the u.s. troop withdraw and afghanistan's future security. chris lawrence is working the story for us. what's the latest? >> wolf, some people say that the white house put out this whole notion of zero troops in afghanistan after 2014 ahead of president karzai's visit is sort of a negotiating ploy to win some concessions on other points. but i've got to tell you, it's a number that has raised a lot of
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eyebrows in the building. the white house floated the possibility of pulling all troops out of afghanistan. now the pentagon is pushing back, saying it could jeopardize any negotiating power with the taliban. >> the position we take in showing that we are going to continue to complete this mission, the better the chances we have to ultimately achieve political reconciliation. >> the pentagon was only the beginning of the afghan president's visit to washington. >> our meeting, i believe, helped -- will help lay the ground work for president karzai's discussions tomorrow with president obama. >> sources say president karzai and his defense minister brought a wish list to the pentagon, drones, helicopters, and hardware to support their security forces. >> what we talked about yesterday was, you know, let's move beyond a wish list of equipment.
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>> the u.s. want assurances the terrorists won't set up troops in afghanistan after the troops leave. karzai agreed. >> be able to provide security to these people. >> but a recent pentagon reports that the afghan border patrol relies on the u.s. for even its most basic needs, food and water. it's rife with illiteracy, lack of accountability, and corruption. and these conditions are expected to endure beyond 2014. but every troop in afghanistan costs the u.s. government about a million dollars a year. so even leaving a small force adds up. 3,000 troops would cost $3 billion every year they are deployed. the question of how many troops remain is secondary to what they will do. defense officials say karzai
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prefers any remaining u.s. troops to focus on training his forces. he's opposed to foreign troops conducting raids. it's a rt paf counterterrorism whereas trainers would train afghan forces. now, remembers u.s. left no troops in iran. i spoke with a senior defense official who says he doesn't see that same sort of flexibility with karzai's administration. he said, although sovereignty is extremely important to the afghan government, they see it more in terms of worrying about afghan prisoners being held in u.s. military jails in afghanistan more so than being very, very strict on providing maybe some legal flexibility for remaining u.s. troops, wolf. >> we're just getting video, by the way, of hillary clinton, the
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secretary of state with president karzai. there you see it. getting back to that shopping list that the afghan leader came to washington with for weapons, who's going to pay for all of those weapons for afghanistan? >> it's a good question, wolf. when you look at just providing for the army that the united states has helped build there, it's going to help build a year of which the afghan can only contribute about 500 million. the u.s. will be on the hook for 2 billion of that. they will try to get international partners to pay part of that. but, again, the afghan government simply does not have the hef knew to buy, you know, big pieces of equipment. so, again, that would be something that the u.s. would have to sort of find a way to finance to help support their forces. >> billions more. we don't know what the end result of those weapons are going to be, good or bad for the u.s. chris, thanks very much. so how tough will it be for u.s.'s troops to get out of
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afghanistan? what sort of situation will they be leaving behind? let's hear now from a former commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan. and joining us now, we're talking to u.s. retired stanley mcchrystal, "my share of the task." congratulations on this new book. >> thanks, wolf f i appreciate it. >> there are still 66,000 u.s. troops on the ground in afghanistan. troops are supposed to remain there throughout this year, throughout next year. they are all supposed to be out by the end of 2014. here's the question. does it really make any difference if they are pulled out more quickly or if they wait until the end? is there going to be a real difference in the result in afghanistan as far as the timing of the withdraw? >> wolf, i would leave the specifics to the commanders on the ground. the most important thing is the minds of the afghan people and
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that's communicating that we're not deserting them, that we are going to live up to the strategic partnership that president obama offered them in the fall of 2009 and i think it's essential to them having the confidence to carry the burden themselves in the future. >> general, they have been there for more than a decade already. this has been the longest war in u.s. history. how much more time dot afghans really need to get their act together? >> when i arrived in the spring of 2002, they had been at war for 23 years. the country was torn apart physically. they were psychologically traumatized as a nation. they need a long time to put things back right again culturally and physically and now it's been 34 years. so i think it's understandable. i don't think we need to carry the major load now. they do. they need a partner. they need a friend. >> so has the mission became one of going after al qaeda in the aftermath of 911 which the u.s. has obviously done and done well to a mission of nation building
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in afghanistan? >> well, if you think back, we went to afghanistan not on an afghan invitation but instead to meet our requirements to unseat the taliban to push al qaeda out. i think we took on a moral responsibility to help the afghans sort things out after we had overthrown the government. we also have a geo strategic interest because regionally it's key for that region and the world. >> because general james jones, former national security adviser, retired marine corps, supreme allied commander, he said a few years ago there was less than 100 al qaeda operatives, terrorists, inside afghanistan right now. is that a number that's consistent with the information you had when you were the commander there? >> it is. in fact, i might have said on most days a little less than that but a lot more just across the border and, of course, we know if afghanistan, when we
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revert to ungoverned territory, they are likely to find safe haven. >> as we're peaking right now, general, hamid karzai is meeting with the secretary of state and defense. is this a man we can really trust? >> well, i think you need to put president karzai in context. in my book, i think i give a unique view. they don't have political parties in afghanistan. he's been -- he's had his life attacked or attempts on his life three times and operates in a very difficult political environment and has an insurgency going. so i think if you put all of those factors in play, suddenly you get a better measure of the kind of what he has facing him. i'm not saying that president karzai is a perfect leader. but what i'm saying is we should try to understand that context and i think it can allow us to deal better with a leader like him? >> in your book you write this about the afghan president.
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hamid karzai was a man of strong emotions and loyalties rubbed raw sometimes to cynicism by long years and slowed to trust but chited to relationships. you spent a lot of travel time with him. bottom line, is he doing what he needs to do? >> well, i'm not on the ground to junl the current activities but i think he's doing what he thinks he has to do, and that is navigate a western coalition that is very skeptical of the mission and desirous of pulling out, dealing with a taliban insurgency and then internal politics. so i think if you really look at his challenge, he's walking a tight rope in a stiff wind. just because he doesn't do everything we want doesn't mean he's not doing what he has to do to survive in that world. >> here's what really worries me. after more than a decade of u.s. troops in afghanistan, billions of dollars -- about $100 billion this year in afghanistan, maintaining the u.s. and nato
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troop presence, u.s. troops basically can't even trust afghan troops to go out on the same combat missions because there's been so many casual ee teas, so many americans killed by supposedly friendly afghan troops. explain what's going on. >> well, i'm sure there's no single explanation but clearly what you've got is an army that's grown very fast, a population that has a tradition of concern about foreigners, deeply held cultural and islamist feelings and in many cases when you get young people together, again like hamid karzai, feeling get rubbed raw, mistakes are made and there's probably some taliban influence in that but i think it's a very disturbing trend but i don't think it's one that can't be worked through. the feedback i get from most people is that while as bad as that is, it's overshadowed by the tremendous cooperation of many other locations. >> the hunt for the formerly
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number two al qaeda leader, now the number one that bin laden has been killed, that's been going on for over ten years. do you know where he is? >> i would assume pakistan. he always had the require for more operations than ubl did. we didn't see glimmers of ubl or even shadows but what we would see is that zawahiri was moving around and communicating. when i was involved and we felt we had a good location for him, that was never true for ubl. my sense is that by doing that he will make himself more vulnerable over time and he's very dangerous to the pakistanis, the west. many people would like to get him and i think basically they will. >> what i'm hearing about your criticism of the pakistanis is the u.s. cannot trust what's going on in pakistan right now.
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am i correct in my analysis. >> it's great that you used the word trust because just for context if you were to put on a pakistani lens and look back at the united states, back from their founding in 1947 with a very difficult history, they would argue that they haven't been able to trust the united states consistently. they helped dr. kissinger go to china. we had a treaty they thought we had had if they went to war. we pulled out of the region essentially after the soviets left afghanistan. i'm not an apoll gist for either side. i'm simply saying it's important that we understand pakistanis approach us with a lot of mistrust, a lot of concerns that we won't be a steadfast and equal partner and we have equally legitimate complaints about their perform man. i think what we've got to do is continue to engage -- i don't
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agree with disengaging and pulling away. it's a constant effort to try to build a trust-based relationship over time. >> general stan me mcchrystal's book is in bookstores. general stanley mcchrystal, thanks so much for joining us and thanks for your service to the united states. >> wolf, thank you for having me. the government's new consumer protection bureau just laid down some new rules for getting a mortgage. you're going to find out what's changing, whether it will help or hurt your chances of buying a home. et? i've got two tickets to paradise! pack your bags, we'll leave tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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new rules could make it harder than ever to buy a home but that might be a good thing. they could help stave off another housing crisis. what are these new rules all about? >> wolf, you would think it's in the bank's best interest not to give a loan in a person who cannot afford a loan and now there are new rules to keep that from happening again. the federal government wants you to know about henry. a california man who bought his $500,000 home at the market
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peak. his lender approved the loan even though his annual salary was less than $50,000. henry not surprisingly is now on the verge of losing his home. there are many henry's out there. the result of the free wheeling easy days of credit leading up to the housing market crash. >> the great praise is the ninja loan, no income, no job, no assets but you could still get a loan and many borrowers did. the underwriting standards really deteriorated over that period that you're describing from 2000 to 2008. by the end of it there was really sloppy, irresponsible lending. >> today the government agency looking out for consumers financial interest issued a new rule on the ability to repay. banned are no document or low document loans. a lender must consider the borrow's credit history, income and ability to pay and other factors a lender can't use a teaser rate to mask the true
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cost of the mortgage. and there are new built-in protections for consumers and lenders under qualified mortgages. no excess, upfront points and fees. a borrow's ratio of debt to income can't be greater than 43% and only in limited circumstances can lenders issue loans where the borrower is surprised with a huge balloon payment at the end of the lendi lending term. and for lenders, there's legal protection for bores who default. the rule was just issued and we must examine it carefully. nevertheless, we applaud the bureau for offering a legal safe harbor to lenders when they originate loans that meet the rigorous qualified mortgage standards in the rule. but will the new rule mean an even further tightening of credit for would-be borrowers? julia gordon is at the center of american progress. >> lenders have been waiting for the rules of the road to be cleared.
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they are clear now so lenders can start making more loans and giving people mortgages. >> not many lenders have tightened underwriting standards on their own but now these rules are mandatory and they will have a year until january 14th, 2014, to comply with these rules. >> important information for people who want to buy a house. the results are in for a group studying the brain of junior seau. what it discovered may explain why he committed suicide. [ ryon ] eating shrimp at red lobster
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clues about the former football store junior seau and why he may have committed suicide. researchers found that he suffered from a neurodegenerative brain disease which would have occurred from repeated hits to his head. joining us now is cnn's chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. first of all, what do we know about what was found in junior seau's brain? >> well, they were specifically looking for evidence of something known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
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what this means is certain proteins and tangles throughout the brain. a lot of people familiar with alzheimer's some ways a very similar process to alzheimer's, but that's something that happens to people in their seventh, eighth decades of life. junior seau was 43 years old. let me show you quickly, if i can, on this model of the brain. this is a little hard to talk about, wolf, because i knew junior seau playing and it's hard to talk about him in this way, but they found, specifically, in areas in this part of the brain, where some of the memory stores are, as well as some of the emotional centers of the brain, deposits of these proteins and tangles and the concern was and the question was, with could this be explaining some of the behavior that he had around the time of his death. depression, impulsivity, and forgetfulness, was what was described. and the connection or an association seems to be there. really quick, wolf, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand
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words. let me show you specifically what we're talking about, what a normal brain sort of looks like versus a brain with cte. the top, you can see, wolf, you don't see any of these dark brown sort of stains as you see on the bottom. it's those dark brown stains that represent those proteins and, again, they say, is associated with these behavioral changes that junior seau exhibited, dave duerson, and so many football players before them, wolf. >> so the bottom line, does cte explain junior seau's suicide? is there a direct cause and effect, in other words? >> no, i don't think you can say that. and i will also add to that that establishing cause and effect is what everybody wants in medicine and science, but it can take a long time to get that sort of data. what we're talking about here, wolf, so still a relatively new science. it's still emerging. 35 football players that have been examined at one particular laboratory in boston, of them,
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34 did have evidence of this cte. but keep in mind, wolf, that these were also players that for one reason or another, their brains were being studied. so there was already some concern. it's going to take more study to sort of establish that connection, but one thing the researchers did tell me is that cte, they have not found anything else that causes it, except for repeated blows to the head. and by the way, not just concussions, wolf, but even what are known as sub-concussive hits. the kind of player where you see a player take a hit, but they get right back up, seemingly nothing wrong, those can accumulate according to some of these researchers and cause some of these problems later on down the line. >> which players, sanjay, are at the highest risks for cte? >> we're not entirely sure. we do know that the more hits, the worse off you are. so if you start football earlier on in life and then play all the way through, you're going to accumulate a lot of those concussive and sub-concussive hits. i've seen evidence of this cte
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myself in someone as young as 17 years old. we know it can happen pretty early on in life. and what you're seeing there, wolf, that blow and the sort of swelling and sometimes the inflammation that can occur in the brain, that might be a precursor to cte. but, wolf, your question is a good one. there may be some people who are more genetically pre-disposed to developing this. and we don't know who those people are right now. >> sanjay, thanks very much. and thanks for all the work you've done, all the research you've done on this problem. it's a growing problem. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. another shooting incident and heroics by a teacher? >> yes, we have that story as well as a story about syria. syrian foreign ministry official says the point man for the u.n. is biased and has deviated from his mission. in a recent interview, a u.n. diplomat said the government's political plan to end violence is just more of the same from a family that's been in power too long. meanwhile, the british foreign secretary promised today that all options are on the table to
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ramp up help for opposition, hoping to speed a political transition. and as wolf mentioned, a 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into a california high school classroom this morning and took aim at two of his classmates. sheriff's officials say one of those, a 16-year-old boy, was critically wounded. a gunshot toward a different boy missed. the shooter was taken into custody. and tales of truck hijacking, smuggling, and underground production highlight a new report that find 60% of the cigarettes sold in new york are illegal. the problem, the highest cigarette tax in the country. a rate of $4.35 a pack, which is even higher in new york city. by contrast, missouri's cigarette tax is only 17 cents a pack. and a huge sendoff today. the governor of south carolina, she watched her husband leave for the war in afghanistan. governor nikki haley's husband is a captain in the army national guard. he left for a month of training before his expected year-long
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deployment. in a statement, the governor said she has a proud military family who understands the sacrifices of serving the country. so he is going to be in afghanistan for a whole year, wolf. >> yeah, they go for a year. >> we wish them the best, to all of our men and women in uniform. >> we certainly do. as a group of killer whales managed to escape a deadly trap beneath the ice. that's next. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health. woman: we're helping joplin, missouri, come back from a devastating tornado. man: and now we're helping the east coast recover from hurricane sandy.
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dramatically from the northeast, making the ice that had right up all against these islands, let that ice crack away, move away from the islands, and the orcas were allowed to swim out. so they haven't been seen now for about 24 hours. that's the good news. they do believe that they got out of there, and the ice is still not back to the shore, because the winds are not blowing from the west just yet. so some good news for those. just dramatic pictures of those whales, coming up for air in a box not much bigger than a swimming pool. >> is the ice early for this season, what other reason why they could get trapped? >> that's a good question. the water is still warm, that's why they're there, but this is free ice. we're talking about ice floating around in chunks, that ice that's floating around in chunks got pushed by the wind up against there. yes, the ice is early, but the warm water to leave is late. so that got these guys in a little bit of trouble. >> chad, thanks very much. >> sure.
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happening now, flu vaccine and drug shortages. the national rifle association at the white house gun meeting. i'll talk to the nra president this hour. diversity questions about the obama cabinet. where are the women? and growing momentum for a $1 trillion coin. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the virus is spreading, concern is growing about the flu. the current outbreak is impacting the entire united states and is considered widespread in 42 states. and now, there are troubling reports of vaccine shortages, as well as a shortage of children's tamiflu, a precipitation drug used to alleviate symptoms. the center for disease control will issue a new flu report
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tomorrow. the latest one counts more than 2,000 people hospitalized and dozens of deaths across the country. doctor anthony fauci of the national institutes of health is now calling it an epidemic. listen to what he told me last hour. >> if you look at the charts that the cdc put out on their website, it clearly has gone above that threshold. so we are into what would classically be described as a flu epidemic. it's still on the uptick. and usually, when you're above that baseline, in a flu season, you stay there for about 12 weeks. we're right now at about week five or so. so we still have a way to go. >> let's bring in our own expert, our chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. sanjay, we all want to avoid this flu virus, so where does it live? on the surfaces, in the air? in other words, how does it spread? >> yeah, you know, it's kind of everywhere. and that's part of the reason it becomes so widespread. certainly in the air, is how
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you -- people typically think about this. people coughing and sneezing. these microscopic droplets, potentially causing infection, but it can also live on surfaces. it usually lives on a surface for about eight hours, wolf. so if you've been typing on a keyboard or opening a door or something like that, you can potentially, you know, get it that way. you also, without knowing it, wolf, touch your hand to your face hundreds of times a day, and that can be a route of transmission. wolf, one thing i should point out, a day or so before you even get sick, if someone's going to get the flu, they become contagious. and that's important to point out, because we look for the people who are sick and try to avoid them, but really, anybody can potentially be spreading the flu. you've got to always be mindful and protect yourself, wolf. >> what did you think about what dr. anthony fauci of the national institutes of health told me, that for all practical purposes, he takes a look at what the cdc, the centers for disease control, is putting out, and he sees it already as an epidemic.
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>> yeah, you know, we've been sort of charting this and mo monitoring it as well. yesterday, it looked like it was getting pretty close to that threshold that he was describing. an epidemic, in layman's terms, means the cases are now higher than we would normally expect. and we've sort of known that for some time, but now that they've crossed this threshold, the big question, wolf, is that we're seeing more cases earlier. typically we see a peak with flu in february. we're seeing ten times as many cases in boston as we saw at this time last year. the question is, is it going to stay high? are these numbers going to stay high for the rest of the flu season? dr. fauci says, look, we're about halfway in. so at least another six, seven weeks, he thinks that we're going to see an increase in numbers in many parts of the country. so, unfortunately, i think this shouldn't be as scary as it should be a reminder that you've got to do everything you can to protect yourself. >> how do you know if you have
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the flu as opposed to a common cold? >> it can be hard to tell. there's a couple of things that are a giveaways. the flu really tends to come on quickly. we have all sorts of different symptoms that we talk about, the fever, the cough, the muscle aches. with cold, you may get one or two of these things at a time. sometimes, they overlap a little bit. with flu, it's often like you feel okay tuesday morning, and by wednesday afternoon, you're sort of just knocked down, in bed, can't get up. and also, with this particular strain, which is called h3-n2, it tends to be more severe symptoms than we've seen in the past, and they're also lasting longer, seven days or so on average. >> so if someone's sick right now, sanjay, what's the best way to treat it? >> mom's advice probably applies best, go home, get rest, get plenty of fluids. i know that sounds make overly simplistic, but that is going to be important for a couple of reasons. number one, you need to get rest to allow your immune system to tackle the virus. but staying home means you're
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isolating yourself, and you're not getting other people sick. you've got to think about other people around you as well, in your workplace and in your community. but there are going to be some people who do need to see the doctor. and these are people who develop worsening symptoms. they have difficulty breathing, develop tightness in their chest. and one thing, wolf, i want to point out, is important and maybe not intuitive, is, let's say you had the flu and your symptoms go away completely, you think, great, i got this licked, and then a couple days later, a fever comes back. that's a red flag, wolf. that's something you need to pay attention to, and here's why. that fever now could be an indication that you've developed a secondary infection, a bacterial infection, and that's something that needs to be treated. it's also what i've just described is also how young people often die from this flu, from these secondary infections, wolf. >> very scary stuff. sanjay, thanks very much for that update. >> you got it, wolf. president obama has tapped his chief of staff, jack lew, to
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replace timothy geithner as his next treasury secretary. kate is here. >> he's now officially announced his next nominee for treasury secretary, but that very nomination is raising some concerns, including questions of diversity in the president's second-term cabinet. cnn white house correspondent, brianna keilar, is looking into this. brian brianna, what's the response from the white house? >> reporter: kate, the white house has been asked a lot about this. in fact, white house press secretary jay carney has said that the white house values diversity. he's highlighted that there are a number of women serving in high-level posts, both in the white house and in the administration in general, and that is true. however, there has been a lack of diversity in the president's recent picks, for high-level administration posts. president obama chose a trusted insider to replace timothy geithner as treasury secretary. >> under president clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row.
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so for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it. three times. >> reporter: jack lew, obama's chief of staff and former budget director has been by the president's side through bruising deficit reduction negotiations. but lew is not a darling of wall street or republicans. in bob woodward's "the price of politics," speaker john boehner says he told the president, "please don't send jack lew." during the fragile debt ceiling negotiations of 2011, "it was unbelievable," boehner said. "at one point, i told the president, keep him out of here. i don't need somebody who just knows how to say no." with the lew announcement, all of the president's top picks, state, defense, cia, and treasury are white men. at every briefing this week, reporters have peppered press secretary jay carney about what some observers have dubbed obama's white guy problem. >> these stories are in reaction to a couple of appointments.
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i think it would be useful to wait and make judgments about this issue after the president has made the totality of appointments that he will make in the transition to a second term. >> reporter: of obama's 16 cabinet positions, only two are women. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius, and homeland security secretary, janet napolitano. the labor and commerce are open, and more will likely become so. it's an issue that can catch fire, as we saw during the presidential campaign. >> i went to a number of women's groups, and said, can you help us find folks, and they brought us whole binders full of women. >> reporter: the white house is sensitive to this becoming obama's binder full of women moment. but there are other issues with the new cabinet. in the east room, as the president spoke glowingly of lew, he noted one exception. lew's loopy signature, which as treasury secretary, will appear on dollar bills. >> when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i
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considered rescinding my offer to appoint him. jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible, in order not to debase our currency, should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury. >> that was probably the funniest moment during the announcement today. but, kate, back to the issue of diversity in the president's cabinet and in his administration. top administration posts, there are a number of women whose names are being discussed as possibilities for these open cabinet positions or positions that may become open. that would include washington governor, chris gregoire, as well as former mg given, jennifer granholm. but, so far, nothing is official. >> so far, as you well pointed out, 16 cabinet positions, only 2 of them are held by women at this moment. brianna keilar at the white house, thanks. >> let's get a little bit more on what's going on right now. joining us is our chief political analyst, gloria borger. that picture that the white house officially released was on the front page of "the new york
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times" yesterday, in the oval office, the president with a lot of his aides. take a look at it. there it is right there, all guys. valerie jarrett is being hidden. maybe you can see her leg over there. >> behind dan, the communications director. >> it looks like they have a serious problem with diversity. they're getting a lot of grief for this. >> and they're trying to combat the problem, as one might expect. so what do you do when you have one bad picture? you release a good picture. so today, they released a good picture. you see here, you have three senior women, actually, around the table, there you are, with the president there in the oval office. one of them, of course, being valerie jarrett, and you see her front and center right there, first among equals, both very close to the president and the vice president. so the way, though, the really fix the problem is to start appointing some women to top posts. you know, of course, the president did want to appoint the u.n. ambassador, rice, to the state department.
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that was not to be, because she would have had too much opposition. i'm told the white house would really like to appoint a women to the commerce secretary job, which is a key cabinet position. but when you look at the choreography of all of this, and we've been talking about this all day, this rollout has not been the way the white house would have wanted. maybe it's because they were busy with the fiscal cliff, but, for example, the jack lew appointment today, you didn't see the whole economic team there, because you know why? that's all men. now, i would argue at some point, we might end up with a woman running the budget office. we'll just have to see. but that wouldn't be a good picture for them either, so they didn't have it. >> it's one thing to have one bad picture put on the front of "the new york times," but when you look at it all together, as they've been pushing out information, are they getting a raw deal, or is this fair criticism? because brianna pointed out, 16 cabinet positions, only two of them are held -- >> well, yes and yes.
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on the one hand, they are getting a bit of a raw deal, and they put out this whole, huge, statistical piece of paper about how many women they have. and here's some of the things they've said to their defense. 50% of the white house staff are women, two out of three deputy chiefs of staff are women, and when it comes to judicial appointments, very important, 47% of the president's confirmed judges have been women. they also point out, when you talk to them, that women have handled some of the president's most important agenda items. kathleen sebelius, over at health and human services, ran health care reform. of course, hillary clinton, foreign policy, at the state department. but that doesn't erase the issue that of these big, you know, cabinet posts, they don't have any women in them. >> and arguably, the most important decisions they've made, the two supreme court justices that he named are both women as well. and they're going to be there for decades. >> they are. and i would also argue with somebody who's watched this
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administration closely, is that this is not a cabinet-run administration. this is an administration that's from inside the white house. if you have top women inside the white house, that's almost just as important. but i also believe that the four top jobs, and you know those jobs, and the nominees. john kerry, chuck hagel, jack lew, eric holder, already attorney general, those will be held by men. and those jobs, those top four jobs, are real policy making jobs. >> i'll say what i said yesterday, valerie jarrett, in terms of influencing the president and the vice president, probably equaling four or five men. >> well, we all do, wolf. >> every woman does, wolf. >> thanks very much. the nra talks gun control with the vice president, joe biden, but says that his agenda is an attack on the second amendment. the nra president, david keene, he will be here live. this hour here in "the situation room," we'll discuss.
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plus, why this pastor is bowing out of the president's inauguration.
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and use one of our certified repair shops, your repairs are guaranteed for life. call... to switch, and you could save hundreds. ♪ born to make mistakes liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? the pastor who had been scheduled to deliver the benediction of president obama's inaugural abruptly withdrew today after the words to an old sermon caught up with him. athena jones is here with details. >> this is not the first time we've seen a controversy arise over gay rights, a pastor, and an inauguration. atlanta pastor louis gigglyio, tapped to give the benediction at the president's second inaugural is now pulling out of
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the festivities. why, over a firestorm from a sermon in the 1990s. >> if you look at the counsel of the word of god, old testament, new testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle, homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. >> reporter: giglio withdrew after those words drew fire from human rights groups. saying, "the issue of homosexuality is one of the most difficult that our nation will navigate. however, individuals' right of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing view on any subject is a critical balance that we as a people must recover and preserve." earlier this month, giglio welcomed thousands at his movement aimed at ending human trafficking and global sex slavery. the human rights campaign, a gay rights group, said giglio made
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the right decision. >> his conclusion in the inaugural activities would have been inconsistent with the tone that this president has said for inclusion and diversity, and as such, we thought that his pulling out of the inaugural festivities was entirely appropriate. >> reporter: the president's inaugural committee said they were not aware of giglio's past comments and were now working to pick a new speaker who better reflects the administration's view. this isn't the first time a pastor's invitation to take part in the inauguration has sparked controversy. in 2009, liberal and gay rights groups slammed the choice of influential evangelical pastor, rick warren, to speak because of his opposition to same-sex marriage. the family research council, a conservative christian advocacy group, is concerned about what they see as a growing trend. >> what's shocking here, i think, is that this is further evidence of a desire to sanitize the public square of anyone who holds to biblical morality. >> now, they also mentioned that the president's inaugurate ral
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county is making history in selecting richard blanco as the first hispanic and the first gay person to perform at an inaugural. >> a lot of things getting ready for january 20th. but the big inaugural would be the 21st on that monday. >> thanks, athena. still ahead, the nra at the white house today talking gun control with vice president biden and slamming his task force. the nra president is here to talk about it with us. r down yor little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just click away with our free mobile app. and you wouldn't have it any other way.e. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use
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a crash in new jersey this morning crumbled a school bus like paper. kate's back. she's got this and some of the day's other top stories. this is pretty shocking, this picture. >> it was a pretty bad crash, too, wolf. more than a dozen people were injured, two critically, when a commuter bus and school bus slammed into each other outside new york city. police say the commuter bus was packed when it rear-ended the other. its driver and another passenger were taken to a hospital in critical condition. no children were on the school bus, but the driver and an aide had to climb out of the bus, which flipped on to its side. those pictures were pretty troubling. american express plans to cut 500,000 jobs. the largest reductions will come in its travel businesses, because that part of the
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industry has gone digital. american express also announced today, it beat analyst expectations for fourth quarter earnings. and after serious breakdowns in 911 systems last year, the fcc could pin stick rules about backup plans on phone companies to keep things running. the fcc says companies failed miserable last june after a freak wind storm shut down calls to more than a dozen call centers in north and west virginia. similar problems cropped up when snowstorm sandy hit in october. and news on an adoption pact that bans u.s. adoptions in russia should have many peoples breathing a sigh of relief this evening. russian president vladimir putin says americans will be allowed to adopt there until 2014, instead of banning them immediately. putin initially put into question adoptions that are in the process of being approved, but a spokesman says those are still underway. russia changed its policy after the u.s. cracked down on human rights violators in the country.
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and a closer look. one story we've been talking about a lot, a closer look at the brain of the late nfl linebacker, junior seau, showed a serious brain disease, after years of hits to the head. the ten-time all-pro committed suicide in may. and those who studied his brain said he had a condition called chronic traumatic enaccept lop t think or cte. and president obama will take the oath of office publicly with martin luther king jr.'s traveling bible, used for his speeches and sermons as well as the lincoln bible on loan from the library of congress on monday, the 21st. the day before the president will use the first lady's robinson family bible that's been around since the '50s for the official swearing in. so a little more history being made. a lot of bibles. >> we'll see what happens. >> i believe he will get sworn
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in. i think it will happen. >> if it's a cold day, i hope you've got a warm coat. you'll be outside on the mall, capitol hill. i'll be out there as well. >> you're always concerned about my health, and i appreciate it. i will be warm enough and hopefully working with you. >> i'm hoping for a beautiful, sunny day here in washington. the vice president, joe biden, has been taking the pulse of the public on gun control today, talking with gun advocates. i'll ask the head of the nra how it went. and what's so crazy about minting a $1 trillion coin to head off another debt ceiling fight? i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is!
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a 16-year-old student is in critical condition after yet another school shooting. it happened today at a high school in taft, california. police say a student at the
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school entered a classroom with a shotgun, shot one student, but missed another. the teacher and other adults talked to him, and at one point, he put down the gun, the gun was then taken into custody, so was the student. fortunately, it happened -- fortunately, it could have been so much worse than it actually turned out to be. but we'll stay on top of this story for you as well. at the same time, the vice president joe biden says his gun task force created after the connecticut school massacre will make specific recommendations on tuesday. >> biden held another white house meeting today. this one including a representative of the national rifle association. cnn's national political correspondent, jim acosta, is over at the white house for us. so, jim, what happened in the meeting? >> wolf and kate, before the vice president even met with the national rifle association, he said he was starting to see a consensus on gun control. it is a sign that this white house is getting ready to make some proposals with or without
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the blessing of the nra. about an hour before sitting down with the national rifle association, vice president joe biden hinted at new gun restrictions, including one, the nation's firearms industry is sure to opposed -- universal background checks for all gun sales. >> not just close the gun show loophole, but total, universal background checks, including private sales. i'm putting together a series of recommendations for the president that will, that he will take a look at. there's a real, very tight window to do this. >> reporter: in addition to beefing up those background checks, biden said his task force may also urge a ban on high-capacity gun magazines, improve gun safety information, and find more research on gun violence and violent video games. the vice president then met face to face with nra official, james a. baker, who left the white house without comment. the nra released a statement saying, we were disappointed
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with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the second amendment. that frustration may have started building wednesday, when biden said the president would likely move forward with reforms that did not require the consent of congress. >> the president is going to act, our executive orders, executive action that can be taken. >> reporter: that drew a sharp rebuke from the gun owners of america, who said in a statement, this does not surprise us, given the administration's antipathy to the constitution and its disdain for the god-given right of self-defense that all gun owners enjoy. that sounds a lot like what nra leaders said at this mitt romney rally last fall. >> if president obama gets re-elected, yeah -- we can kiss our constitutional right to own a firearm in the united states good-bye, along with a lot of the rest of our freedoms. >> reporter: the white house is trying to convince other stakeholders in the gun debate, such as hunting and wildlife groups, to consider supporting
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the administration's proposals. attorney general eric holder met with retailers who sell guns like walmart. just as biden was speaking to reporters, authorities in california were dealing with another school shooting, the late nest a rule community near bakersfield. the vice president said the goal is to prevent another newtown. >> there is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled, not shot with a stray bullet, riddled, riddled with bullet holes in their classroom. >> reporter: now, this evening, the vice president is meeting with representatives of the entertainment industry. tomorrow, it's video game makers. but a crackdown on hollywood does not appear to be in the vice president's sights. he plans to have some recommendations for the president by tuesday. wolf and kate? >> sure is, not a lot of time to put those recommendations together, but we will see what they come up with. jim acosta, tanhanks so much, j.
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>> and we're standing by to speak live with david keen, the president of the nra. we'll get his thoughts on what happened with that meeting with the vice president earlier in the day. on another big story we're following, the next treasury secretary, if he's confirmed, that would be jack lew. balancing life and personal life certainly can be difficult for many people here in washington, but the treasury secretary nominee has an extra challenge. his religion. he talked about that with cnn's candy crowley back in 2011, when he was director of the office of management and budget. >> you are an orthodox jew, which means that you can't use electrical devices, over the weekend, friday night sundown to saturday. how does that work in a 24/7 job? have you ever had to cheat? >> well, it's actually not cheating. if there's a matter of real urgency, it is totally consistent with my religious beliefs to do whatever i need to do to deal with it.
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the hard part is making that judgment of what's an emergency and what's not. what's really serious. and frankly, the hardest part is saying to yourself, that it won't change the outcome if i'm not involved. and i've found that there's an enormous amount of respect, has been from the time i was very young, working for speaker o'neil, from working for two presidents, to taking things that are of real importance seriously. and when the phone rings on saturday, i don't have to wonder whether i need to pick it pup there's no one who calls me. >> so you know automatically you need to pick it up on a saturday. >> they know where i am, they know how to find me. i'm never out of reach. i think it says a lot about our country that you can be true to your own beliefs and be available and have a position like the one that i hold. >> so you don't ever want to just lack at your blackberry or -- >> not unless there's something really urgent going on. if there's a crisis going on, a different set of rules kick in. just like if i were a doctor. >> you can see candy interview
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top newsmakers on cnn's "state of the union" sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. eastern, only here on cnn. >> still ahead, the president of the nra will be joining us live in "the situation room" shortly. also, an unlikely idea is gaining momentum. minting a $1 trillion coin to avert a debt ceiling crisis. some experts say it's not as crazy as it sounds. (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy. why take exercise so seriously,when it can be fun? push-ups or sprints? what's wrong with fetch? or chase?
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it may sound like a pretty crazy plan, but the idea of minting a $1 trillion coin to avert another debt ceiling battle is gaining some momentum and gaining some prominent supporters. cnn's brian todd has been working this story for us. so brian, what's the latest? >> well, kate and wolf, this has picked up more serious momentum in the last few days than any of us could have imagined, despite all of our jokes that, quote, we hold in our hands the solution to the debt ceiling crisis. this is because, mostly after the fiscal cliff and everything else. so many want to avoid the fallout from another political ball in washington. >> it's gone from never in a million years to, well, maybe. the idea of the president minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to do an end run around the republicans and avoid debt ceiling drama, has gained
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popular and political momentum. what started as a blogasphere win in 2010 has gotten more. and paul krugman is writing if the debt ceiling impasse isn't avoided, quote, mint the darn coin. democratic congressman nadler solidly behind it. not to mention a petition on the white house website with signatures in support. speaking of the white house. >> would you totally rule it out? >> you can speculate about a lot of things. i would refer you to treasury for the specifics about this question. >> reporter: the punt's in the air, it's a high floater. the treasury department decides not to field it, declining comment. but why is this being discussed more seriously now? analysts say frustration and fatigue in washington. >> there's an increased search for ways out of this problem, especially by democrats, and i think that's how some of them hit on this idea about the coin. >> reporter: we've explained how
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it would work. the treasury can mint it and then just print on it, $1 trillion. the president can then order that coin to be deposited at the federal reserve. enough, enough already. the real buzz over all of this is about the possibilities, humorous or not, of who'd be on the coin. president obama and john boehner have been considered, because, after all, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. lady liberty is always a popular choice. michael phelps, riding on a bald eagle is a little bit too scary. we should probably just keep it on the safe side with him. have a nice look to it or no? >> well, it's nice to collect. i don't think it's a great way to solve our national debt problems. >> matt cooper of the national journal says one reason why the idea hasn't been shelved is because it's more politically adroit for president obama to threaten to mint the coin for leverage than it would be for him to actually use it. >> i think it would be very hard for him to then go forward and negotiate things on the budget and other tax issues and the sequestration, and other things that face this president. >> not to mention the mockery
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that it would draw on the president, on the congress, and the american currency system. as strange as the idea of the coin might seem, many analysts say it's no crazier than getting into another fight over the debt ceiling, possibly even jolting the financial markets as a result. kate and wolf? >> so what really are the predictions here. do analysts think this could actually be used? >> people are saying it's very unlike, but not impossible. and one of the reasons is the president and the white house have already given up one weapon they have in this. they say they're not going to invoke that 14th amendment, it's obscure, but they say the president cannot question the validity of the debt. so basically they've given up that as a weapon, saying they're not going to use it, saying this could be a weapon. they're not ruling it out. >> crazy. thanks very much for that update. appreciate it very much. david keene is here, the president of the national rifle association. he's walking into "the situation room." we're going to be talking right after this. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe...
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before vice president biden met with the nra and other gun rights groups today, he appealed for some room to negotiate.
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>> there's got to be some common ground here, to not solve every problem, but diminish the probability that what we've seen in these mass shootings occur, and diminish the probability that our children are at risk in their schools. >> let's get some more on the meeting, what happened there. david keene is joining us now. he's the president of the national rifle association. the vice president says you've got to find some common ground. based upon what you heard from your representative who went to that meeting at the white house today, one of your top lobbyists, is there any common ground? >> there isn't on guns. there is not on guns, that i can see. except in one area. we have had for years urged that those who have been adjudicated a violently mentally ought to be included on the national database of those who are not allowed to buy firearms. 23 states don't do that. we think that that's something
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that they're at least willing to consider, and that would make a difference, because the people who have been involved in these shootings have been people who are severely mentally ill. now, we're not blaming, and we don't think you should demonize everybody who's got a mental problem. most of them are no more a threat than you are. but the fact is, there are people who are not in the grey area. there are people who have been adjudicated, as potentially violent schizophrenics and the like. they should not be allowed to buy firearms. >> on that point, though, i really always have a hard time understanding. if you go to a gun store and buy a weapon, a gun, you need a background check. >> right. >> but if you go to one of these gun fairs or whatever, a gun show, you don't need any -- >> that's not, strictly speaking, true. most of the guns that are purchased at a gun show are purchased from federal firearms licensed holders. anybody who buys a firearm from a federal firearms licensed holder, whether it's a dealer or a private party, has to undergo a background check. >> i've heard that 40% of all
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purchases are without any background checks at all. >> we don't know what percentage at gun shows. it may be 10%. those are private transactions. whether they're at gun shows, or whether -- >> but there shouldn't be background check. >> background checks are a good thing, right, we can all agree on that? >> background checks are generally a good thing. >> but that loophole? >> it's not such a loophole at gun shows. if you sell me your shotgun, that's a private transaction. but the problem is, how do you enforce a law that would require me to check you out? that's a very difficult kind of thing. it can be done at a gun show, perhaps, if the atf wanted to spend the money to have an instant check there, but in private transactions, it's very difficult. so you can talk theoretically or talk about the real world. >> the other thing to do is just to have stores where they sell guns, you require a background check, and you eliminate the gun shows? >> well, it's not that -- most of the private sales you're talking about don't take place at gun shows. they take place between you and
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me. >> they sell a lot of guns at gun shows, though. >> they sure do, but very few are sold except by dealers at gun shows. >> the vice president said today there was a growing consensus around the need to strengthen background checks. do you not agree with that? >> we agree that it should be tightened up in the sense that the people who should not have firearms should be included in the database. when you buy a gun, and they call into what we call the nik system that the fbi runs, that runs it through all the databases, and says whether you can or cannot buy that gun, now, if you've been adjudicated to be a violent schizophrenic, you may not be on that list, and we think that you should be. a lot of the other proposals in the strictly gun area that the administration is making are what i call feel-good proposals. >> okay. >> for example, the high-capacity magazinese magazi. why do people need those.
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>> the ar-15s -- >> do you have an ar-15? >> i do not, but my daughter does. >> what does she need it for? >> a lot of people who have served in the military, like to shoot for fun at the range, and in competition, the same gun they learned on or something similar to the same gun. she was in the army, she learned on a military weapon, this is the semi-automatic civilian version of that. it's the only gun she owns because she likes to go to the range and she likes to shoot it. >> you heard general mcchrystal say last night on cnn, he doesn't see why these military-type weapons should be available to civilians. >> well, military-type weapons are not -- >> but the ar-15 -- >> it's not a fully automatic weapon. it's a semi-automatic weapon. and civilians have been able to buy semi-automatic firearms for over 100 years. the only thing that's different is the platform, and some people don't like the way it looks. but that gun is the best-selling long arm in this country, over 3 million americans own them. they're fired at ranges, they're the gun that most people train
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on today, and they're fired in competition. if you go to the national matches at camp perry in ohio, you'll see lines of people firing the ar-15. so it is not a gun -- and it is also used extensively for hunting, particularly for coy e coyot coyotes, for varmint hunting. it's not powerful enough in a lot of states to be used for deer hunting. >> let's take this out of the weeds a little bit. the gun control debate is at the forefront of many people's minds, unfortunately because of the horrific shooting in newtown, connecticut. what i'm hearing from you, and what i think our viewers are hearing from you right now, is this isn't going anywhere, any further than it has over the many years that we've been talking about it. so did you go into this meeting thinking that you were going to be able to work with the white house on gun control measures, or did you go in already knowing, this is a foregone conclusion, you guys don't agree with them. >> we knew going into this meeting what the president's position on the so-called
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assault rifle ban was. these are not new positions. the president said we do this with an open mind, but at the meeting, he said, we've already made up our mind, there's not going to be an agreement on that. >> did you feel like a prop in the meeting then? >> in a sense, they were checking a box. they were able to say, we've met with the nra, we've met with the people who are strong second amendment supporters. that doesn't mean that there isn't an area for agreement. now, if the question is, should we ban guns, should we ban so-called assault weapons, should we do that, should we do the other, there's not going to be an agreement there. if the question, however, is, as the vice president put it, how do we deal with the problem of these kinds of shooting, then i think there is an area for agreement. and that is tightening up on putting information in the database, it's school security, it's beefing up the way we deal with the mentally ill. we have, as a society, not done that over the years. there are lots of areas that we can agree on. we are not going to agree on
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these gun questions. because we don't think that from either a constitutional standpoint or from a policy standpoint, works. >> i want to be precise. on high-capacity magazines, ammunition clips, there's no negotiation on that? >> no. >> on a ban on assault weapons, there's no negotiation on that. >> no. >> there is negotiation on background checks, a little bit. maybe a little bit -- >> on who's included -- >> so david, what do you say when biden said yesterday, he said very clearly, the president is going to act. what does the nra say to that? >> well, we stated our position. they stated their position. >> if he does executive orders, you don't need congress for that. >> well, you know, some things you can do by executive orders, some things you can't do by executive orders. and some things that you do do by executive orders need money to be implemented and that's up to congress. >> so you'll go through that. david keene, thanks for coming in. >> david, thanks so much. >> the bottom line is they heard what you had to say --
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>> and they heard what we had to say. >> the vice president made some common ground. david keene is the president of the nra. thanks very much for coming in. >> anytime. >> good to see you. don't leave yet. please be sure to join us tomorrow, by the way. i'll interview the former new mexico governor, bill richardson. he's just back from north korea. he'll with here in washington. we're going to hear what he learned in pyongyang. also, this may be the best drive-through video you have ever seen. fast food restaurant workers take an order like they normally would, but when the car drives up, it's completely empty. as you might expect, their reactions are priceless. >> hello. what the heck is going on?
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we learned today that hollywood really does like abraham lincoln. when the academy award nominations were announced this morning, the film, "lincoln," got the most oscar nods, 12 in all including best picture and best director for steven spielberg. "argo," 'zero dark third," and django unchained were among the
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others. but the directors of those films, they were snubbed by the academy. speaking of snubbed, wolf, i have a feeling you can feel their pain. if memory serves me correct, there are three chances now that the academy could have nominated you? i'm very, very pained by just thinking about it. >> what have you done to the academy? >> i don't think they like me. >> let's remind our viewers. how can you forget the powerful performance in "the adjustment bureau." >> his father, before he got to high school, he got over that, he had such promise. >> and he was the youngest person ever elected to the house of representatives, james. >> he was elected when he was actually 24. >> that was brilliant. >> spot-on, brilliant. >> i was a great supporting actor. >> also, the will farrell movie, "the campaign," would that have been nearly as funny without you? i don't think so. >> bizarre news coming out of the 14 st. district congressional race in north carolina. now, get this, cam brady, four-time congressman, punched a
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baby. >> punched a baby. >> brilliant. brilliant. >> again, i can't even begin. i'm outraged. did any oscar nominations come from those performances? >> none. no supporting actor, nothing. >> we will never forget. and now, wolf's riveting cameo in the blockbuster movie "skyfall," also a snub. but, wolf, if it's any consolation, daniel craig did not get nominated. >> that movie, "skyfall," grossed $1 billion and i was in that key scene. >> and wolf got all of not $1 billion. >> no. all right, maybe next year. i'm going to keep doing these major motion pictures. imagine a car driving up to a fast food restaurant, orders, but then creeps up to the window without a driver. that's exactly what cnn's jeanne moos found. >> reporter: in under five seconds, he can turn himself into a car seat. >> i built this car seat costume. >> and now he's riding his car
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seat to fame. >> so this is how the costume looks. >> reporter: 24-year-old rahad hussein is the star of a prank sweeping the internet called the drive-through invisible driver. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: arriving like a ghost driver, he stunned workers at over 50 fast food restaurants in virginia and maryland. >> really?! >> reporter: really. >> i'm overwhelmed, you know? >> reporter: overwhelmed at how an oddball prank has become a sensation. the last time we saw anyone turn himself into a car seat is when the border patrol released this photo of someone smuggled into the u.s. from mexico, sewn into the upholstery. and now this. >> hello?! are you serious? >> reporter: he's serious, all right. this criminal justice student is serious about becoming a magician. originally, rahad considered trying to get reactions from motorists on the open road, but his costume limited his sight so
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much, he thought it might be dangerous. >> the eye heil is right here, it's a mesh material, where you can see right through. >> reporter: his handmade, mostly cardboard costume, topped with an actual car seat cover, consists of seat and head rest. >> reporter: i could almost cyst in you. >> right. >> reporter: he takes his hands off the wheel on the straightaway right before he pulls up to the window, leaving workers looking for the missing driver or calling for an instagram photo. >> instagram this. >> reporter: one thing, the well-behaved car seat absolutely must not do is crack up laughing. >> i was trying hard to keep a straight face. i was like, i thought i was going to shake. >> reporter: though at the end, he did break character. >> just throw it in here, i'm a ghost. >> throw it in there? >> yeah, i'm a ghost, just -- >> thank you! >> what, no seat belt? >> no seat belt at all. >> double take, make way for the triple take


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